Some Violence, but California Protests Mostly Peaceful
LOS ANGELES — National Guard reinforced police in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Vallejo after a second night of violence. That was among scattered incidents that stood in contrast to largely peaceful California protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Fifty members of the Guard arrived Tuesday after they were requested to “assist in securing locations that are considered high-risk,” said statement from the city.
“A group of approximately 100 individuals armed with batteries and nearly 40 vehicles surrounded the Vallejo Police Department,” the city said. “Additionally rocks and bottles thrown at PD units and a subject with a Molotov cocktail was observed.”
Elsewhere, police cordons — in some cases backed by National Guard troops — kept a tight watch on marchers from San Francisco to Hollywood but on the fifth day of protests the mood seemed far less tense. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and some police officers took a knee during a clergy-led demonstration outside police headquarters.
People marched up the Great Highway along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach while at San Jose’s City Hall several hundred people showed up for a demonstration organized by the local branch of the NAACP.
Protesters held about nine minutes of silence in front of the state Capitol in Sacramento — approximately the amount of time that a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
After evening curfews fell, police began moving in to disperse demonstrators outside the Los Angeles mayor’s residence. More than 200 people were detained, including about two dozen who lay down on a Hollywood apartment building rooftop and spelled out “BLM” with their bodies, for “Black Lives Matter.”
Police Chief Michel Moore said nearly 3,000 people had been arrested since the protests began, most of them for failure to disperse or curfew violations.
Organized Gangs of Thieves Took Advantage of the Distraction to Hit Dozens of Businesses
Moore himself came under fire at a civilian Police Commission hearing where speakers called for his resignation or firing because of remarks he made a day earlier. Moore had said rioters and thieves were “capitalizing” on the demonstrations to commit crimes and had Floyd’s death on their hands just as much as the Minneapolis police officers who killed him.
He quickly said he misspoke and later issued a written apology. Garcetti on Tuesday defended Moore and praised him for correcting his “wrong” statement. “Moore is among police chiefs who have denounced Floyd’s death.
The Los Angeles County curfew was extended to a fourth night Tuesday. Authorities credit it and the arrival of more than 1,000 National Guard troops with significantly reducing vandalism and thefts.
In Redwood City, protesters chanted “take a knee and we’ll leave” at California Highway Patrol officers, and began leaving after an officer dropped to one knee, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Law enforcement officers said during the protests, organized gangs of thieves took advantage of the distraction to hit dozens of businesses.
The Sacramento Police Department is investigating an officer shown on cellphone video using a carotid restraint on an 18-year-old man arrested following a sidewalk chase early Monday, The Sacramento Bee reported. The technique, which can cut off blood flow to the brain and render a person unconscious, has been banned by many departments but is allowed in Sacramento under certain conditions. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of looting and resisting arrest.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott asked supervisors Tuesday to keep an overnight curfew order for at least the “next few days.” He said burglars are organized, with vehicles waiting to ferry away people rushing out of stores with armloads of goods.
Oakland’s interim police chief, Susan Manheimer, asked for video or other information on a shooting during Friday night’s protest that killed a federal officer and injured another. The victims were guarding the U.S. courthouse. She said investigators believe the assailants were targeting law enforcement.